Public relations

WHY PUBLIC RELATIONS IS IMPORTANT

The Society does not exist in a vacuum; it must function in the real
world. The Society functions best when the community understands what the
SCA is (and is not). The renting of event sites and equipment becomes much
easier. Recruiting becomes easier. Often, SCA members' non-SCA lives become
a bit easier. In essence, the SCA needs the acceptance of any community in
which it is to exist.

POSITIVE PUBLIC RELATIONS IDEAS

There are two basic goals of positive public relations activities; to
help the people of the local community 1. to understand what the SCA is (and
is not), and 2. to accept the group as responsible and acceptable. These are
a few ideas for reaching these goals in your group:

  1. (Not sure if this is possible in Europe, but...) Adopt a motorway.
    Often, the sponsoring group will have it's name posted along the motorway,
    (Be sure to list the Society's name, not just "SCA", and the real name of
    the city, not the shire/barony name.)
  2. Donate feast leftovers to local charity.
  3. Do period Christmas caroling for hospital or nursing home,
  4. Do demonstrations for "family night" at the Boy Scouts, Girl Guides,
    etc.
  5. Use high visibility locations for many of the things that your group
    does weekly: fighter practice, dance practice, populace meetings, etc.
    This can help in recognition of the group.
  6. Find out what is going on in your community and get involved.
  7. Put up a complimentary subscription of Tournaments Illuminated or a
    copy of The Known World Handbook in the local library. Or donate some
    period books. You might even ask the library to have a newspaper
    photographer present when the books are presented, and do the presentation
    in garb. Library subscriptions to T.I. are cheaper than memberships, and
    can be combined with the Dragon's Tale. This does not include a membership
    card.
  8. Put window displays in windows of the business district.
  9. Put an art/science display in the local museum.
  10. Put the SCA in the telephone book. Your group should list a contact
    number in the phone book only if you are sure that the number will not
    change for a couple of years. A non-political home-owner is a good
    choice.
  11. Donate time working at the public television (or radio) telethon.
  12. Attend period plays in garb, or volunteer to act as ushers in garb.
    (Make sure to contact the theatre well in advance of the
    performance!)
  13. At the beginning of the school year, take black and white photographs
    to a student newspaper office, along with a short written story or a
    flier. Be sure to leave the name and phone number of a contact
    person.
  14. If your group has money, sponsor a programme on public radio or
    television, e.g. a Celtic music or Medieval music programme.
  15. If there is an association shield board at the edge of town (where the
    Rotary, Lions , or others advertise their presence,) you may be able to
    list our branch there. You must have a listing in the telephone book to go
    with it.

Whatever you choose to do, remember to tailor your activity to the
situation and the audience.

You may have noticed, some of these things that promote good public
relations are also things that can be used as recruiting. In fact, most of
the listed ideas can act as both recruiting and public relations, to varying
degrees.

Another way to improve the way that the public sees the SCA is to connect
it (in the minds of the public) to another well-known and respected
institution. You might decide to do the "theatre" part of a dinner-theatre
at a local hotel/restaurant. Whatever you decide to do, the publicity for
the event should include both the names of the SCA and the other group.